After more than four decades in Indianapolis, DealerNews International Powersports Dealer Expo will move to Chicago in 2014.
Citing the need for a larger venue in a bigger market, a change of dates and feedback from powersports dealers, Advanstar Powersports Group officials say the show will be held at McCormick Place for at least the next three years. The first show will take place Dec. 5-7, 2014.
Powersports Group Senior Vice President Tracy Harris says Advanstar polled retailers, manufacturers and distributors before making the decision.
“The responses we received centered on location, timing and content,” Harris says in a statement. “We knew we had to move to a bigger market, change the dates of the show to better align with dealer ordering decisions and bring more vibrancy to the event.”
The most recent Indianapolis show, held on its traditional February dates, saw a 30-percent drop in total attendance from the year before, to 10,904, and a 27-percent drop from 2011 According to Advanstar, which released show statistics in March, verified buyers (not including exhibit personnel) amounted to 5,452, a decrease of more than 25 percent since 2011.
Not all of those declines can be blamed on the venue or the dates, however. The Motorcycle Industry Council has estimated that U.S. sales of motorcycles, scooters and ATVs in 2012 were down 54 percent from their peak year of 2007.
Nevertheless, Advanstar believes the new location and dates will help.
“Dealer Expo needs to be convenient as well as cost-effective for the most powersports buyers to attend,” Harris says.
After the February 2012 show, before Advanstar had decided to move the show, it had announced that the 2014 dates—then planned for Indianapolis—would move to a September timeframe.
Harris says the new early December dates make more sense for retailers’ seasonal scheduling and don’t interfere with other industry events like the SEMA Show (scheduled Nov. 4-7, 2014, in Las Vegas), the International Motorcycle, Scooter & E-Bike Fair (Oct. 1-4, 2014, in Cologne, Germany) or EICMA (typically held in mid-November in Milan, Italy).
Chicago Campaigns for New Shows
DealerNews will open on the same day one of the largest shows held each year at McCormick Place closes: the RSNA Scientific Assembly & Annual Meeting, which will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 5, 2014.
The decision to move apparently also followed a successful campaign by Chicago representatives to get the show to their city. In a press conference following the announcement, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez took the lead in lobbying Advanstar to consider Chicago.
Ramirez is one member of a relatively new “Trade Show Promotion Fund Committee,” whose members are selected by the mayor and the local carpenters’ union. It was formed in the wake of legislation and rules changes designed to make it easier for exhibitors to do more of the installation of their own booths, thereby lowering the cost of exhibiting in Chicago.
“We took the politics out of McCormick Place,” Emmanuel said at the press conference, “and stopped treating McCormick Place as a political football in a political sandbox.”